Wow, we had the opportunity to attend last week’s California Clean Tech Open Annual Competition. It was a fantastic event that was flawlessly produced by a group of dedicated volunteers who have a passion for clean tech and entrepreneurship. Next year, we hope to get involved with such an exciting group and sector. The event showcased a broad range of the most promising clean tech startups. The level of innovation taking place was amazing and holds so much promise for “what’s around the corner” in terms of job creation and better, more efficient ways to improve resource availability, transportation, renewables, power delivery, eco-friendly building and energy consumption. Each of the clean tech startups were winners in their own right.
One of our favorites in the Air, Water & Waste category was, hands down, a startup called, Over the Moon Diapers. Any parent knows and often struggles with the decision of whether to use cloth diapers or disposables. Cloth diapers raise concerns regarding air and water pollution required to clean and reuse the diaper. On the other hand, there is the matter of the disposable diaper that takes 500 years to decompose; each year, 450 billion diapers are tossed in landfills (yes, that 450 billion with a “b”). These staggering numbers indeed paint a real problem, so we applaud any company that can improve this smelly situation! Bottlestone was another clean tech startup winner that makes ceramic stone material made out of 80% recycled waste glass. With an improved ability to reduce heating and cooling costs— while maintaining all of the aesthetically pleasing aspects of natural stone, quartz and granite, Bottlestone is bringing a highly appealing product to market. In the renewables category, Renewable Fuel Technologies caught our eye. Have you ever gotten excited about straw? Well what this company does with straw is amazing. There is currently more than 200 million tons of straw and other crop waste being produced. Renewable Fuel Technologies is harnessing this by-product for its energy value and converting it into BioCoal™. This is a win-win for farmers all across America that have literally tons of straw and other crop waste that they ordinarily would PAY others to come haul away. Even better, innovative startups like Renewable Fuel Technologies can begin to replace the environmentally scarring effects caused by the traditional processes used by the aging coal industry. Converting 200 million tons of agri-waste into BioCoal, could replace 150 million tons of fossil coal and, more importantly, reduce CO2 emissions by over 500 million tons each year. BioCoal is a new, much more promising clean tech alternative that cement kilns, power plants and other users of fossil coal can adopt, without any capital cost, while reducing their CO2 emissions footprint. There’s another win-win!